Influence of Microfinance Training Programmes on Acquisition of Financial Skills among Women in Self-Help Groups in Kiambu County-Kenya
Mwaniki, Tabitha Wawira
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Microfinance training plays an important role in imparting financial skills to women. However, women in Self-Help Groups in Kiambu County still lack adequate skills in finance. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of microfinance training programmes on the acquisition of financial skills among women in Self-Help Groups in Kiambu County. The objectives were; to determine the levels of financial competencies among women in SHGs; to examine the influence of microfinance training models, training processes of microfinance programmes, gender-related challenges, and gender-responsive strategies on financial skills acquisition among women in Self-Help Groups. The study was based on gender relations, endogenous growth and knowledgebased theories. The research applied a mixed methodology approach and was guided by an exploratory research design. The study targeted 31 Credit Officers from 31 Registered MFIs in Kiambu County, 16, 967 women in SHGs as well as 100 Key Informants (Training Officers) which totaled 17, 098 respondents from which a sample of 384 respondents was determined using Yamane’s Formula. Stratified sampling was applied to create 12 different strata (sample frames) based on the number of sub-counties in Kiambu County. From each sub-county, two (2) Credit Officers, two (2) key informants (Training Officers) and two (2) SHGs comprising of 14 women were selected using purposive sampling. This procedure yielded a sample size of 336 women in SHGs, 24 Credit Officers and 24 Training Officers. To collect data from women, focus group discussions and interviews were used, interviews for Credit Officers whereas questionnaires from Training Officers. Piloting was conducted among 39 respondents in Murang’a East sub-county in Murang’a County to establish validity and reliability. A reliability index, r = 0.782, was calculated using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Method. Qualitative data were analyzed based on objectives and were presented in narrations and verbatims. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively using frequencies and percentages and inferentially using One-Sample t-test with the help of Statistical Packages for Social Science and were presented using tables and charts. The study found that majority of women in SHGs manifest inadequate cash-flow management (76.5%), financial investment (71%), pricing and costing projection (47%) and e-financing skills (77%) necessary to manage their personal and household finances as well as to develop and manage entrepreneurial activities. The study further found that microfinance training is important in equipping women with financial skills despite the challenges which characterize the training models and processes. Thus, the study recommends that, besides developing a training schedule with clear training blocks for women to fit in depending on their daily chores, microfinance institutions (MFIs) should adhere to a set schedule and indicate specific activities to be undertaken during training. Besides, there is a need to ensure capacity building for trainers to improve skills not only in financial training but also in gender areas and concerns that often stand in the way of women’s financial skills. MFIs should develop policy frameworks that incorporate gender perspectives.